With almost 50% of the Indian workforce engaged in agriculture, it is no surprise that agricultural festivals, especially those relating to harvest times, have come to play a significant role in shaping the culture and life of the country. Of the two main cropping seasons of northern India, the harvest of the Rabi season is celebrated on a grand scale under the name of Baisakhi.
Also spelled Vaisakhi in some parts, it is celebrated with great pomp and ceremony in the country, especially the state of Punjab, where several parts of the state organise various fairs in commemoration of this special festival. Most cities and towns in Punjab have their own places of worship; called Gurudwaras. On the occasion of the festival, these gurudwaras are decorated with banners and flags to symbolise the joy of the harvest.
Baisakhi celebrations also include the Bhangra dance; a traditional harvest dance, which has now become world-famous thanks to the many Punjabis who have emigrated overseas. These ‘international Punjabis’ also celebrate Baisakhi with great vigour, wherever they may be located, keeping their Punjabi culture alive and vibrant. So much so in fact, that Baisakhi has become a notable festival in several areas of the UK, US and Canada.
The festival is also a religious occasion and is solemnly observed alongside the more jovial celebrations. This includes a ceremony known as the ‘nagar kirtan’ which originated as a ritual for the entire town or village to participate in. Traditionally, the villagers would march in the streets while singing hymns, making music and reciting from holy texts of Sikhs.
Community is always an important aspect of agrarian societies and this is reflected in the celebration of their festivals as well. Baisakhi is no different and occasion is celebrated with family and friends over plenty of delicious, festive food. The festival is a time to celebrate the abundance of nature and the joy of life and this is reflected in the joyous atmosphere that is an essential part of any Baisakhi celebration.
In the Hindu tradition, the festival also marks the beginning of the solar new year and is therefore celebrated with the appropriate rituals and ceremonies. This includes visiting temples, bathing in sacred rivers like the Ganges, Jhelum and Kaveri as well as socialising. In Hinduism, Baisakhi is also known by several other names.
Delhi airport too is not behind on these celebrations. Many outlets at the airport have several discounts and offers across categories on the occasion of Baisakhi. It’s a great time to make the best of the occasion and get those items that you’ve been waiting for. So come on over to the airport and celebrate the festival in truly Delhi airport style.